Paddeltour im Spreewald mit Familie
Paddeltour im Spreewald mit Familie

Annual Review 2022 in the Spreewald Tourism Destination

Vetschau, 14 December 2022

The Spreewald Tourism Association expects 2.1 million overnight stays by the end of December 2022, which would be 100,000 overnight stays more than in 2019. By the end of September 2022, the Spreewald already had 1.7 million overnight stays (in establishments with 10 beds or more, including camping). The average length of stay of guests is around 3 days and has increased slightly compared to previous years. Most guests visit the Spreewald in the months of May to October. Compared to the other tourist areas in Brandenburg, the Spreewald takes a top position in terms of overnight stays and arrivals in 2022.


Day visitors to the Spreewald

In 2019, the Spreewald tourism destination welcomed 9.2 million day visitors. A brief comparison: 200,000 people live in the entire travel area, 100,000 of them in Cottbus. Most day visitors come from Berlin, Saxony and Brandenburg. "The high number of day tourists definitely presents us with challenges," says Silvia Jonas, press officer of the Spreewald Tourism Association. "But we are already working hard on visitor guidance and working on resident acceptance."

"Day visitors most often visit the larger Spreewald towns, where they either take a punt trip or rent paddle boats from the harbours," Silvia Jonas continues. "Of course, a day in the Spreewald also includes a visit to the restaurant to try Spreewald-typical specialities such as yeast dumplings or potatoes with linseed oil and curd cheese."


International guest numbers

According to Corona, the number of foreign guests has increased again. By the end of September 2022, the Spreewald had more than 78,000 overnight stays from all over the world - most guests came from Denmark, from Poland and from Switzerland. In 2019, there were more than 95,000 overnight stays from abroad. "Increasingly, we are now seeing many day guests from Asian countries, such as China or India," explains Silvia Jonas. "We also have many day visitors who come from abroad but live and work in Berlin."


Tourism economy / turnover

Tourism is an important economic force and a strong employer in the travel area. "In 2022, we generated almost 500 million euros in turnover from tourism in the Spreewald," informs Annette Ernst, head of the Spreewald Tourism Association. "In 2019, there was thus a tax revenue of about 46 million euros from tourism, which comes as a joint tax to the federal, state and local governments. If you look again at the inhabitants in the Spreewald - i.e. the remaining 100,000 who live outside Cottbus in the direct Spreewald, more than 10% live from tourism."


GLC remains business agent

GLC Glücksburg Consulting AG has taken over the contract of the business agent for the Spreewald Tourism Association for another five years at the end of 2021. This means that GLC AG is responsible for the entire tourism marketing of the destination Spreewald and is the central contact for tourism service providers and guests of the travel area. "I am pleased that the old GLC is also the new GLC. The previous cooperation with GLC Glücksburg Consulting AG has worked very well in the past, so I look forward with anticipation to all upcoming projects and challenges in the future," says Harald Altekrüger, Chairman of the Board of the Spreewald Tourism Association.


New corporate design - soft launch of all print products

"We used the year 2022 to change our corporate design so that we can perfectly address our target group of LOHAS (Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability)," says Annette Ernst. This target group is characterised by a sustainable lifestyle and environmental awareness, social responsibility and an interest in health. They have an above-average education, an above-average income and are willing to spend money on sustainable, high-quality products and services. Age does not play an essential role here.

"Many of our service providers see it similarly and are now gradually gearing their offers to this target group," Annette Ernst continues. "That's why we shot new image films in the Spreewald and produced a series of new photos in many places in the Spreewald. This enabled us to redesign all our print products in 2022, for example." Take a look at our Spreewald Journal.


The Spreewald is ranked 46th most popular tourist attraction

The UNESCO biosphere reserve has been voted one of Germany's most popular sights by foreign holidaymakers. On the website of the German National Tourist Board (DZT), foreign visitors determined the TOP 100 most popular destinations. In the previous year, the Spreewald achieved 50th place - so it has climbed four places further up the rankings in 2022.

You can find the Top 100 ranking here:


Sustainability as a central theme

This year, the TVS office worked on the recertification process of ServiceQuality Level I. This also included that the TVS office had to take a closer look at the sustainability of its services. This also included that the Spreewald Tourism Association dealt with important questions on strategic, sustainable orientation for the TourCert. Important parameters here are the quality of products and services, customer orientation, careful use of resources, accessibility and offers in the field of sustainable mobility. "To be more precise, we asked ourselves in the association how we can work more sustainably and developed measures for implementation. Of course, we want to set a good example, especially if we want to train our service providers on the topic of sustainability in the coming year," says Annette Ernst.

Since November 2016, the Spreewald Tourism Association has been organising the "Quality Offensive", a range of workshops and seminars to support professionals and managers and promote their professional development. "Constantly improving the quality of service in Germany has been one of our highest goals for years," Anette Ernst continues. In addition, the Spreewald Tourism Association has been admitted to the second application phase in the 2022/23 national competition for sustainable tourism destinations in Germany. "We want to bring locals and guests closer to the landscape and culture of the Spreewald with its regional characteristics and specialities and at the same time raise awareness for the preservation of these existential values. The federal competition helps us to realise this goal in a focused way."


Cooperation with universities

In 2022, the tourism association also worked together with universities again to develop, for example, a general guideline on visitor guidance for the Spreewald. This is being done in cooperation with the Berlin School of Economics and Law and the Berlin University of Applied Sciences. An important part of the study deals with how guests can be persuaded to a more conscious, resource-conserving approach to nature in the Spreewald. "This includes, for example, paddling rules that do not contain any prohibitions but explain in a nice way why the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Spreewald is not to be entered everywhere or why rubbish left behind is not good for the animals in our cultural landscape," Silvia Jonas explains.


Promoting the Sorbian/Wendish people

The Spreewald Tourism Association has set itself the task of preserving and further developing the diverse cultural heritage of the Sorbs/Wends with their tradition and language as an expression of the identity of the Sorbian/Wendish people. "In 2022, we had coffee cups made of grass paper artistically designed with Sorbian/Wendish motifs as a nature-compatible alternative to conventional plastic cups in outdoor catering and leisure facilities. These are now mainly used on barges. This is just a small push for sustainable development in the region," says Annette Ernst.

The second project is a Sorbian/Wendish family box that guests can try out in restaurants in the Spreewald when they have to bridge waiting times. The family box will contain a Sorbian/Wendish memory game, a doll to cut out with three different traditional costumes, a colouring booklet, crayons, a postcard, a Sorbian booklet and the family leisure card. The design was created by the artist Karen Ascher from Lübben. The Spreewald Tourism Association was able to plan and implement both projects with the help of the Dahme Spreewald district.